A blonde has stopped six lanes of heavy traffic by casually jaywalking through it in the middle of day. People are stopped in their paths, in their cars and on the sidewalks, watching a situation that does not confine itself to traffic. Hence people’s attentions are spilling out over the street and things are, momentarily, not even crawling down the road. The blonde is a dog. Tada!
I’m at the intersection a block away–trapped by the lights–pacing the corner like it’s an enclosure. I’m watching this idiot waltz further and further away. My knees are starting to whimper since they hate running. Everything except my mind is thankful for this momentary rest.
This is not my dog. I don’t know the dog. It’s a neighbor’s dog that decided to jump off of a third story balcony when the owner went out. (I think.) I just walked into the situation when leaving my house. I didn’t see anything but the results.
“It’s around, it’s walking”. That’s good news I think. Maybe it’s in shock? Does anyone know its name? People are on phones calling Dog Catchers or whatever. Lots of incredulous faces, mine included. It’s not a short distance, not a small dog I hear.
I see the dog over someone’s shoulder going down the alley alone. It’s average sized, average weight, some breed with no tail. It’s moving smoothly, and with intent, so I lost sight of it quickly. “It’s down the alley! It’s moving towards the other mouth of the alley!”
Now I’m the only person I can see that is trying to catch this dog.
I don’t think catching an unknown dog with your hands is a great idea so I stop inside and grab a leash (I have a dog too) and bolt down the alley. I spot it a couple blocks later in the outside lane of a busy street. Running with traffic, like it’s a vehicle. Nearby drivers are slowing down in safety and my view isn’t great. I can only see it the dog in still images between the cars. I run to the intersection whistling Chariots of Fire.
I’m out of breath. The dog is wandering down the median and I squeeze the leash in my hand like a very flat, very flappy stress ball. I also squeeze my other hand, which is full of chihuahua-sized treats (I got those inside too), and now my hand is spicy and oily. This makes me extra worried for some reason.
I’m watching it turn a corner when the second light finally changes and I can go back to destroying my body with physical activity. I explode at the green and move as fast as possible but it now has a minutes worth of a head start and double the amount of legs I have.
I get to the corner and I can’t see anything except one choice in five directions. There are no clues, just driveways. I’m looking at people’s faces as my compass. Two or more heads facing in the same direction would be my new sense of true north. No one is looking around.
There is another busy street ahead, I run to the corner and nearly get run over by an elderly woman using very bright white knuckles under thick gold rings to drive her sedan. (One with a very spacious bright white welted leather interior.) I gather my senses and wonder how I’m standing in the parking lot of McDonald’s all of a sudden. The air smells fat and good; I guess that’s how.
A block away from me going north is a dog park. I head there thinking that, I don’t know, this dog is lost: it will head there for advice or something. This is, I think, a wrong choice. A human choice and not a dog’s choice. But it’s all I have so I go on so I take it. I consider what Cesar Millan might do. Unfortunately I don’t have his knowledge or experience.
The park is empty, save for a couple birds. I sit down and let my disappointment char the air with audible breathing. I’m scouring the horizon with my eyes my with increasingly small effort. Pelagic cormorants are diving. Seagulls pick at the lawn since they can’t irritate it any other way. My lungs hurt. I rub my knees. Cesar Millan’s teeth are soooo white. Just like the inside of that lady’s car. “Pack Leaders”, feh!
I walk back home with an empty leash realizing that I, too, don’t feel like I deserve any type of treat for services rendered. I smell like cured meat, which isn’t so bad. I think about the dog in traffic, the only thing in moving in a frozen, glinting seam of glass and metal, unhurried and invasive. No idea its freedom at that moment is the focal point for so much speculation and attention.
I don’t know what happened to the dog. I came home and washed my hands.
My knees want to know why I chased the dog. I have to tell them I don’t know. My knees are still upset.
Mama ko mama sa maka makossa mama ko mama sa maka makossa. Alright fine: I’ll be hypnotized. I’ll dance.